After making six roster cuts on Monday, the Detroit Lions have added two more players to the roster, as the Lions announced on Tuesday that they have claimed tight end Michael Egnew and full back Emil Igwenagu. However, in wake of their two new additions, the Lions also announced that they have made two more roster cuts, as they released tight end Jacob Maxwell and offensive guard Bryce Quigley.
Now for those who don’t know or don’t seem to understand the recent cuts and signings of players, just know that the Lions are making a point to keep their 75-man limit that all teams had to reach by Tuesday afternoon.
In even simpler terms, after claiming Egnew from the Dolphins and Igwenagu from the Eagles, the Lions were at back 77-man roster. So to reduce the roster back to 75 players, the Lions cut a pair of un-drafted rookies who hadn’t done much to standout, those players being Maxwell and Quigley.
Now I know what your thinking, how much can these two new Lion players really offer with only a week left in preseason. While I can understand your questions about these two, I encourage you to keep in mind that both players could very well make an impact in this short time, especially Igwenagu.
Coming into camp, Igwenagu is considered by most to be a tight end but since the Lions view him as a fullback, he will be competing with Jed Collins and Montell Owens for fullback duties. Although he is coming into camp late, head coach Jim Caldwell says that he hopes that Igwenagu can play right away in Thursday’s exhibition finale in Buffalo.
“Hopefully you will see him this week. He’s one of those guys that he’s going to have to be a quick learner in order for us to be able to utilize him. But, we plan on doing just that. We’re going to put him under an intensive sort of learning curve here shortly. Hopefully we’ll be able to certainly get him in the game so we can see what he can do.”
I must admit that I am also eager to see what Igwenagu can do. At 6-foot-2 and 245 pounds, Igwenagu, is a un-drafted free agent out of UMass, who only appeared in three games during his time with Eagles. Nonetheless, I think there is a chance for Igwenagu, to have success in Detroit although he can play tight end, I honestly think he is better suited at fullback. In fact, if you go back and look at his film with the Eagles, you will see that he is an excellent blocker, in fact, he was probably the best blocker they had at tight end. However, he wasn’t the productive in other tight end situations, which is why the Eagles waived. While that may seem unfortunate, keep in mind that the Eagles loss can be the Lions gain. For starters, his skill set is better suited for the full back position, not to mention, his excellent blocking skills are certainly wanted by the Lions, which is why I think coach Caldwell is so eager to see him on the field, as he mentioned above.
I’m not saying it will be easy for Igwenagu to win to make the 53-man roster but I do think it’s a possibility for him to make the roster, especially if he earns an opportunity to show what he can do on Thursday against the Buffalo Bills.
Now when it comes to the Lions other new addition, Egnew, you’re talking about a former Missouri Tiger and a former 2012 third-round pick of the Dolphins, who had seven catches for 69 yards and zero touchdowns in Miami last season. While I’m sure he has plenty of potential, considering his size and good hands, it’s hard for me to see him, making the 53-man roster. You have to remember that the Lions already have Brandon Pettigrew, Joseph Fauria along with first-round pick Eric Ebron on the roster at tight end, which makes you question whether there is any room for Egew to make the roster, let alone have a chance to see any playing time on the field.
Nevertheless, I’m never one to say that someone can’t make the team. You never know, the Lions may be able to bring out the hidden potential of Egnew along with Igwenagu. If for whatever reason they don’t perform well enough to make the 53-player roster, both players could be candidates for the Lions practice squad. Only time will tell.
Written by LBeasley (Lauren Beasley), Sports Contributor for Radio One Detroit
For more of L-Beasley’s (Lauren Beasley) sports news and in-depth sports content, click here.